After reading My Brother Moochie by Issac Bailey this summer, I watched 13th, the documentary on the history and state of the criminal justice system in America. Thus, I chose Angela Davis’ “Recognizing Racism in the Era of Neoliberalism” as my passage to reflect on because she wrote about the way our criminalization institutions are rooted in racist history and are not improving in modern day despite what many citizens may think. The deep rooted history of racism in the United States is perpetualized by the discriminatory language embedded in the American vernacular. Even though current laws are established to mitigate the harsh effects of past explicit racism, laws cannot combat the existing racist beliefs in the private sphere. Because the majority white population denounced African-Americans for years, African-Americans are now at a disadvantage in our neoliberal state. Neoliberals advocate for individual responsibility over public good and community; therefore, when people belonging to a low income bracket are unable to find healthcare and/or proper education, the powerful neoliberal leaders blame the workers instead of the oppressive history and racism that still exists. If Davis could have a conversation with two authors from our readings, she would most likely talk with Spivak and Marx. Spivak encourages readers to use language in an inclusive way. Instead of choosing words that make others feel excluded, language should be used as a tool to empower and inspire. Both Davis and Marx talk about the detrimental effects of a capitalist society on the working-class. Below is a list of discussion questions meant for stimulating conversation between these three influential activists.
How does one’s societal position based on race, gender, income bracket, etc. influence his/her personal identity as well as others’ opinions of his/her identity?
How does a racist history affect our current social constructs, and how do those constructs affect our governmental structure?
Is “colorblindness” an effective way to stop racism, or is it an idealistic concept?